Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
A scene outline is a means of writing a novel where each scene follows the other with a scene input from the previous scene and a scene output that leads to the next scene. The scenes don't necessarily have to follow directly in time and place, however they generally follow the storyline of the protagonist.
A storyline outline is a means of writing a novel where the author develops a scene outline for more than one character and bases the plot on one or more of these storyline scenes. This allows the scenes to focus on more than the protagonist. This is a very difficult means of writing. There is a strong chance of confusing your readers.
Whether you write with a scene outline or a storyline outline, you must properly develop your scenes. All novels are developed from scenes and each scene has a design similar to a novel. Every successful novel has the following basic parts:
1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
Every scene has these parts:
1. The setting (where, what, who, when, how)
2. The connection (input)
3. The tension development
4. The release
5. The output
There are lots of approaches to scene setting. That means there are about a million plus ways you can set a scene. The main point is you have to clearly get across the where, when, who, what, and how.
Here is another example of scene setting from the novel, Aksinya. I'm giving you examples from the book so you can see different ways of introducing and writing a scene. In each snippet, you get the scene setting, the tension and release, and the input and output. This isn't true of every example, but the pieces should be there, and I've been trying to identify for you when all the pieces aren't evident. You can use these ideas to guide your own writing. Make sure you set the scene properly, then make everything come to life through the narration and conversation.
This train wreck started at the beginning of the novel. It gained speed with each chapter: when Aksinya took revenge, when she took Natalya as her lady-in-waiting, succumbing to the demon, traveling to Austria, etc. Each step led closer and closer to this climax. The reader knew the climax would occur, but not the total form. As we move closer, the climax becomes more and more visible through the mist.
In the morning, when Natalya entered Aksinya’s bedroom, she had to immediately cover her eyes. The room was filled with brilliance. Aksinya sprawled naked across her bed, and a rod of light lay on her open palm. The bedclothes all were on the floor, and a large and strange magic circle encompassed the bedroom.
Natalya carefully crossed the circle and moved to Aksinya’s bed. She held her hand in front of her face and squinted between her fingers at the bright light. Natalya knelt at the edge of the bed and smiled a great and wonderful smile. It filled her entire face and the sparkle in her eyes vied with the light of the rod. Natalya reached out her hand and touched Aksinya’s lengthening hair. She stroked it and gently clasped it. Her eyes filled with tears, and she whispered, “I knew you would make something beautiful with the book. I longed with all my heart to see it.” She gave a great sigh, “I love you so much, mistress. I would do anything for you.” Her mouth trembled, “What I gave for these books was worth every moment of agony.” She buried her face as though in prayer for a moment then raised her head. She couldn’t take her eyes from the piece of light that lay so easily on Aksinya’s palm.
A knock came to the door. Sister Margarethe’s voice came clearly to Natalya, “Lady Natalya, Countess, you will be late for chapel and class.”
Natalya didn’t want to take her eyes off Aksinya. She replied without turning her head, “The Countess was up late studying. I don’t wish to wake her yet.”
Aksinya moaned. Her eyes snapped open. She glanced at the rod of light in her hand then turned her face quickly from it. She started to say a Latin phrase, Natalya touched Aksinya’s lips with her outstretched finger, “Don’t make it go away yet. Let me look at it a little longer. It is so beautiful.”
Aksinya yawned and stretched. She clasped the light a little more tightly in her hand. She pushed herself up and sat cross legged on the top of the bed then she held the light out to Natalya, “Would you like to hold it?”
“Take it in your hand,” Aksinya placed the rod of light in Natalya’s outstretched palm.
“It isn’t hot. It’s cold. It’s beautiful, mistress. Do you have to make it go away?”
Aksinya giggled, “No, why don’t you place it in the schrank then you can take it out whenever you like.”
“May I take it to my room?”
Aksinya’s lips turned up into a smile, “You may do whatever you like with it, but you must not let anyone else see it.”
Natalya’s eyes lit up, “Thank you, mistress.” Natalya cupped the rod in her hand and carried it to the schrank. She placed it inside and closed the door. When she turned around Aksinya sprawled with her legs open on the bed, “Mistress!” Natalya colored.
Aksinya turned her face toward her.
Natalya did everything not to point, “The way you are sitting. Everything…”
Aksinya laughed and stretched again. She scooted to the edge of the bed and hopped off, “Draw my bath, Nata. I didn’t sleep very much last night, but I feel very refreshed.”
What agony did Natalya face to get the books. We know what was required to get the books, but not how they were taken. We do know that magic was involved, the demon was involved, Ernst was involved, and somehow, Aksinya was also compelled to make these things happen. If you are very astute, which most of my readers are, you can figure out what happened. If you can't, that's all right too. The writer's job is to not confuse the reader. Everything will come out. I would expect my readers to not be confused, but rather be enthused. They know something of magnitude happened, they just don't know what happened--and, like I mentioned, all the evidence is in place. The exciting part is the revelation. That is both the release and the next tension builder. We shall see tomorrow.The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or audiences...ie, multi-layered story, for various audiences...like CS Lewis did. JustTake care, and keep up the writing; I am enjoying it, and learning a lot.
ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.